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New Cuba

Hip Havana

New Cuba

Hip Havana

Cuba’s changing – come and meet Cuba’s new entrepreneurs and dive into their creative buzz

  • Duration 7 Days
  • Activity level Leisurely
  • Included Accommodation Meals Staff
  • Day 1
    Day 1

    Arrival in Havana

    You’re soon to discover that Cuba is all that and much, much more, but first relax and enjoy your first night in Havana.

    • Casa Particular, Havana
    • Dinner
  • Day 2
    Day 2

    Havana City Tour

    After breakfast, your guide will take you on a city tour of old and new Havana, Cuba’s capital and the largest city in the Caribbean, exploring Old Havana by foot.

    • Casa Particular, Havana
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 3
    Day 3

    Day Trip to Las Terrazas

    This morning we head west for a day trip to Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve tucked away in the Sierra del Rosario mountains.

    • Casas particular, Havana
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 4
    Day 4

    To Regla

    Today we will see a very different side of Havana by catching the local lancha, or ferry, in Old Havana and crossing the bay to the neighbourhood of Regla.

    • Casas particular, Havana
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 5
    Day 5

    An exploration of Cuba’s music, dance and social enterprise scene

    Today we’ll have a slightly later start setting off mid-morning for brunch in a gorgeous café run by photo-journalists. Later we’ll visit a couple of…

    • Casas Particular, Havana
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 6
    Day 6

    To Playas del Este

    This morning we head to Playas del Este, the group of beaches to the east of Havana frequented year-round by locals looking to kick back and cool off.

    • Casa Particular, Havana
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 7
    Day 7

    Departure Day

    This morning is at leisure to spend as you please.

    • Breakfast
  • ?
    FAQ
    Ask us

    FAQ

  • Day 1

    Day 1: Arrival in Havana

  • Day 2

    Day 2: Havana City Tour

  • Day 3

    Day 3: Day Trip to Las Terrazas

  • Day 4

    Day 4: To Regla

  • Day 5

    Day 5: An exploration of Cuba’s music, dance and social enterprise scene

  • Day 6

    Day 6: To Playas del Este

  • Day 7

    Day 7: Departure Day

Ask us

FAQ

What is included?

  • Transfer from airport upon arrival
  • Transfer of luggage throughout but not hotel porterage
  • Accommodation in casas particulares on B&B basis
  • Meals:  all breakfasts, 5 lunches and 3 dinners.  Lunches will be in restaurants or picnics depending on the day
  • Classic American car tour in Havana; salsa lessons; entrances to Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve, zip lining, Santeria Museum, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and Fabrica de Arte Cubano.
  • Staff:  Local English-speaking Cuban active guide throughout, specialist local guides for some activities, driver. 
  • Transport: all transfers in private air-conditioned vehicle.

What is not included?

  • Flights to and from Cuba
  • Travel / medical Insurance (compulsory to provide proof of cover for entry into Cuba)
  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, phone calls etc)
  • Vaccinations
  • Visas (Tourist Cards)
  • Tips for guide, driver and local staff.  We recommend that each participant contributes a minimum of CUC 25 – CUC 30 to be shared between the local staff.

Is this tour right for me?

  • English speaking group with 2 – 18 people of mixed nationalities. Minimum age 18 years.
  • Busy days with a variety of activities, travel and exposure to contemporary Cuban culture. 
  • You enjoy immersing yourself in new cultures and taking part in hands on activities.

Ziplining

  • Wear comfortable clothes and trainers.
  • Safety harness and helmets are included.

Essential packing list

  • Swimming things and beach towel
  • Trainers for ziplining
  • High factor sun cream (50+), sunglasses and sun hat
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Insect repellent – tropical strength
  • Long sleeved shirts and light trousers for the evenings
  • A sense of humour and patience are useful in Cuba!

Optional items

  • Most people bring a small back pack which they keep on the bus for easy access during the day.  Typically they will carry their valuables, snacks and a camera.

Throughout the tour we stay in private accommodation (Casas particulares) in Havana.

It’s fair to say that the standard of Cuban accommodation is not always comparable to that which you would expect in other countries owing to years of isolation, under-investment in the country’s infrastructure and effect of the US trade Embargo. Anyone travelling to the island should be prepared to rough it a bit at times! Décor tends to be a little dated, there might be the occasional power cut, and you may find that your water pressure isn’t all it could be. Fortunately, it’s warm enough most days that the lack of hot water is not a major problem!

However, most people love the opportunity this gives to stay in a relatively normal Cuban home and see how Cubans live. These homes are simple compared to ours but the welcome is warm and rooms clean. All the casas also have air conditioning an en suite bathrooms. You’ll be spoilt at breakfast in the mornings.

Cuba doesn’t have a great reputation for varied international cuisine but in recent years lots of privately run restaurants (“paladars”) have opened (particularly in Havana) offering a wider choice and better quality food than the government run establishments.  We will be eating in some of our favourite paladars in Havana during this trip and you will be able to sample more traditional Cuban creole food at the restaurant in Las Terrazas Biosphere.

For those with special dietary requirements, be prepared for a very limited menu while you are in Cuba.  There are very few vegetarians and vegans in Cuba so there are sometimes misperceptions as to what you can eat.  Vegetarians often bring snacks and spreads to liven up their meals.

Cuba is the land of the Mojito, Daiquiri and Cuba Libre.  You’ll find that plenty of rum-based drinks all over the country with prices ranging from 2-6 CUC for most cocktails. But beware, they don’t use measuring glasses, so they might be stronger than the ones you have tried at home!

All our guides at Cubania are Cuban nationals who are registered with and trained by Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism. They come from all kinds of different personal and professional backgrounds. They’ve been teachers, I.T. professionals, bakers, vets, army officers and even underwear salesmen! What they have in common is that they are all highly educated graduates who are passionate about guiding and proud of their beautiful country. They all speak excellent English and receive annual training in first aid.

Day 1: Arrival in Havana

  • Casa Particular, Havana
  • Dinner

Welcome to Cuba! The largest island in the Caribbean, Hemingway’s much-loved abode and one of the last planned economies in the world. You’re soon to discover that Cuba is all that and much, much more, but first relax and enjoy your first night in Havana. Head out for your first cocktail and dinner in one of Havana’s many new paladars – private restaurants.

Day 2: Havana City Tour

  • Casa Particular, Havana
  • Breakfast, lunch

After breakfast, your guide will take you on a city tour of old and new Havana, Cuba’s capital and the largest city in the Caribbean, exploring Old Havana by foot. Havana is a bustling capital full of historic monuments, cathedrals and palaces. Preserved by a combination of very little war damage, post Revolution restoration work and the millions of dollars invested since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, it is the finest surviving Spanish colonial city in the Americas. You’ll stop for lunch in a cool café, we’ll meet local entrepreneurs, Clandestina, major players in the graphic design landscape of New Cuba. We’ll then visit the Cuban collection at the Museo de Bellas Artes, where we’ll explore the best in contemporary Cuban art with the help of a local expert. The rest of the afternoon is free to spend at your leisure. You can have dinner at your casa if you wish or eat out in the old town (dinner not included).

Day 3: Day Trip to Las Terrazas

  • Casas particular, Havana
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning we head west for a day trip to Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve tucked away in the Sierra del Rosario mountains. Enjoy a break from the bustle of Havana in this peaceful mountain retreat. Las Terrazas community was created in 1971 so that farmers in the area who had been living in desperate poverty and isolation could participate in reforestation of precious hardwoods. Nowadays Las Terrazas is a self-sufficient community surrounded by spectacular landscapes.

On arrival we visit the small community and then head for the ziplining course which soars over the village and through the forest. It’s an exhilarating way to see the beauty of the lush landscape. We then head to the San Juan river for a refreshing dip in the natural pools. There is a simple restaurant on the banks of the river where we will enjoy a Cuban creole lunch. In the afternoon we return to Havana, have time to go to your casa to freshen up before heading out into the Old Town to learn how to make Cuba’s iconic cocktails – the Mojito and the Daiquiri. We’ll enjoy a tapas-style dinner to accompany the cocktails.

Day 4: To Regla

  • Casas particular, Havana
  • Breakfast, lunch

Today we will see a very different side of Havana by catching the local lancha, or ferry, in Old Havana and crossing the bay to the neighbourhood of Regla. Habaneros associate Regla with Afro-Cuban religion and music and it is here that Cubans will come to consult with Santeria priests, hear Afro Cuban drumming, and pay their respects to Yemaya, one of the most important gods in the Santeria religion. A visit to the church of Our Lady of Regla introduces us to Santeria, brought to Cuba by slaves in colonial times and still practiced by millions of Cubans. We then carry on to the local museum where we are introduced to some of the rhythms and chants associated with Santeria. Finally we meet a hip hop group called Obsesión who talk to us about the contemporary music scene in Cuba. Afterwards we return to Old Havana where we have a bite to eat and leave you to explore at your own pace.

Day 5: An exploration of Cuba’s music, dance and social enterprise scene

  • Casas Particular, Havana
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Today we’ll have a slightly later start setting off mid-morning for brunch in a gorgeous café run by photo-journalists. Later we’ll visit a couple of very Cuban social enterprises: a music recording studio (BandEra) and a second hand book store (Cuba Libro). At BandEra, we’ll meet some musicians playing contemporary music, learning about the modern-day music scene in Cuba. Cuba Libro is a cooperative run by a journalist who has created a public space to read, drink good coffee and collaborate with creative projects. Late afternoon we’ll head to Villa Lola dance studios for a salsa class with our one-on-one local dance partners. Afterwards we’ll go out for dinner at a nearby pizza and pasta restaurant. We’ll be accompanied by the dancers who will later escort us to a dance venue in the city!

Day 6: To Playas del Este

  • Casa Particular, Havana
  • Breakfast, lunch

This morning we head to Playas del Este, the group of beaches to the east of Havana frequented year-round by locals looking to kick back and cool off. We’ll relax on the beach with a picnic and a few bottles of Havana Club. At the end of the afternoon we transfer back to Havana where we will have time to freshen up at our casas before being picked up by classic American 1950s cars for a stylish sunset tour of the city. We’ll end up at a paladar for our farewell dinner. Afterwards we’ll continue to the Fabrica del Arte Cubano (FAC) for a night out at Cuba’s iconic interactive art space. FAC is a multi-faceted arts venue that, on first impression, wouldn’t look out of place in East London or Berlin if it weren’t for the very Cuban influences and clientele – entrance is included for this evening. With an ever-rotating curation, no two weekends are the same at La Fabrica; expect to see photography exhibitions, improvised theatre, jazz ensembles, or electronic DJs. There are numerous indoor and outdoor areas to visit within the large venue, so depending on your tastes you are likely to find something to dance to! Whilst entry is included, you’ll receive a card that you use to record drinks purchases before paying your own bill at the main door upon leaving.

Day 7: Departure Day

  • Breakfast

This morning is at leisure to spend as you please. And so it’s adios from us, or as we prefer to think of it, ‘hasta luego’ – see you later! Have a safe journey and we hope that you had a wonderful experience in Cuba.

There are no airport transfers included today however we can arrange on request. Trip extensions can also be booked if arranged in advance through Cubania Travel.

What's included?

Accommodation

6 nights in casa particular

Meals

All Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 3 Dinners

Staff

English-Speaking Cuban tour guide, driver, Cubania office 24 hour contact

What's not included: Flights, travel insurance, vaccinations, visas, gratuities

What to bring

1. Sun protection

high strength sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat

2. Swimming things

and beach towel

3. Light Clothing

Light cotton and linen clothing suitable for tropical climates.

4. Personal toiletries

and any essential medication (including insect repellent and anti-histamines).

Cubans dress casually but are always impeccably turned out. Avoid bringing expensive or flashy jewellery.

Is this tour for me?

Travel style: Cultural Trip

City based cultural trip exploring modern Havana with two day trips to the country/beach

Group style: Small

English speaking 2 - 18 people, mixed nationalities. Minimum age 18 years.

Notes:

Busy days with a variety of activities and exposure to contemporary Cuban culture.

1. Select date
2. Number of passengers
3. Billing details
4. Payment details